Monday, 25 March 2013

A Bear by Design

The scope for teddy bear design is limited only by Guild members' imaginations and it's plain to see they enjoy stretching this wonderful art form as far as possible towards the teddy design horizon; but no matter how far the humble teddy bear evolves, he can today, be categorized as either primarily traditional, or contemporary in design.

Those two fundamental design categories can of course be sub-divided; for example, traditional comfortably stretches to modern classic and vintage style ...

Classic bear by Gregory Gyllenship from the UK

Modern classic by Yvonne Andrew from the UK

Vintage style bear by Lyn Brimbin from Australia

And contemporary encompasses a broad range of techniques and styles from fun character studies, through to fantasy, anime, needle-felted bears and beyond ...

Contemporary character bear by Michelle Lamb from the US

Fantasy bear by Zhanna Rassi from The Lebanon

Anime style bear by Bry Richardson from the UK

Needlefelted bear by Denise Casey from the US

The 'Realistic grizzly bear' perches on the periphery of both primary categories; the 'on all fours' teddy design existed historically and on one side of the coin, some designs today pay homage to that historical style, whilst others take the design a stage further with the use of contemporary techniques, whilst retaining an undeniably engaging traditional teddy bear charm ... then of course, there are bearcrafters inspired by the natural world, who breathe realistic grizzly ferocity into this challenging design style ...

Traditional 'on all fours' grizzly bear by Beth Hutchison from the US

Teddy charm in this contemporary grizzly by Kelly Dean from the US

Fiercely realistic grizzly by Heidi Hollis from the US

As you can see, Guild Bearcrafters are passionate about teddy bear design.  They focus on improvement, development, evolution and education, but above all, they love their work and want it to bring happiness to teddy bear collectors. 

There are many more styles of bear yet to learn about from panda bears, to thread art bears, dressed bears to vignette presentations, mini bears to magnificent big bears ... and plenty more besides.  

We hope you enjoy our work and look forward to sharing more tidbits from our Guild of Master Bearcrafters with you in future!


  1. I have a question. If a bear is on all fours and he is entered in a competition, is his size measured from his toes to his shoulder or is it his length.
    Thanks Kay

  2. Good question! It may vary depending on the organiser, but the well respected TOBY Award rules state:

    'Entries designed to stand on all fours (such as realistic bears) should be measured from nose to tail and from top of head to floor. The larger measurement determines an entry’s size category. All measurements must be in inches.'

  3. Thanks so much for your prompt reply. It is something that has always had me in a quandery. I guess most would be like the Toby rules?

  4. I think most competitions would probably have similar criteria, but it's always best to read the small print before sending in an entry, just to be on the safe side!


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